@article{elmachtoub_grigas_2020,
title={Smart "Predict, then Optimize"},
abstractNote={Many real-world analytics problems involve two significant challenges:
prediction and optimization. Due to the typically complex nature of each
challenge, the standard paradigm is predict-then-optimize. By and large,
machine learning tools are intended to minimize prediction error and do not
account for how the predictions will be used in the downstream optimization
problem. In contrast, we propose a new and very general framework, called Smart
"Predict, then Optimize" (SPO), which directly leverages the optimization
problem structure, i.e., its objective and constraints, for designing better
prediction models. A key component of our framework is the SPO loss function
which measures the decision error induced by a prediction.
Training a prediction model with respect to the SPO loss is computationally
challenging, and thus we derive, using duality theory, a convex surrogate loss
function which we call the SPO+ loss. Most importantly, we prove that the SPO+
loss is statistically consistent with respect to the SPO loss under mild
conditions. Our SPO+ loss function can tractably handle any polyhedral, convex,
or even mixed-integer optimization problem with a linear objective. Numerical
experiments on shortest path and portfolio optimization problems show that the
SPO framework can lead to significant improvement under the
predict-then-optimize paradigm, in particular when the prediction model being
trained is misspecified. We find that linear models trained using SPO+ loss
tend to dominate random forest algorithms, even when the ground truth is highly
nonlinear.},
author={Elmachtoub and Grigas},
year={2020},
month={Nov}}